BROOKLYN, NY - The final game of the Conrad McRae Youth League for the summer turned out to be a great game.
Jefferson and Xaverian played a physical game with a lot of lead changes. In the end, it was Jefferson that ended up with the higher number on the scoreboard.
Jermoine Faison was named the game MVP. He deserved it because of the way he led the team. He played with great effort and leadership. He played extremely hard on the court, even one time taking a charge on the unforgiving concrete. That's something that is rarely seen on outdoor courts. Jefferson came away with a hard earned 70-65 victory over a tough Xaverian team.
There were two lead changes in the fourth quarter. Jefferson was on top 58-52 with 2:55 left in the game when Xaverian's George Lambert knocked down his second three of the period. That was followed by teammate Rob Rossiter's rebound and put back to make it a 58-57 game. After Faison split a pair of free throws for Jefferson, Xaverian's Raven Owen made both of his to tie the game. Then Lamel Faison found Rossiter on the next offensive possession to give Xaverian a 61-59 lead.
Then Rachard Moody made a tough bank shot to tie the game for Jefferson. After a turnover in the backcourt by Xaverian, Moody got the ball again near the three point line at the right elbow. He waved his teammates away for a clear out, then in the next instant he drove down the middle of the court and finished with a lefty lay-up. Xaverian couldn't get the ball inbounds on the next possession when Jaquan Lynch intercepted the ball and got fouled. He made both free throws and gave Jefferson enough of a cushion to get the win and the chip.
Moody, dynamite in a 5-8 package, could have easily been given the MVP. He was a spark off the bench and was involved in almost every crucial play. He led the team in scoring with 15 points. Still, you couldn't go wrong with giving Faison the honor. He is one of the hardest playing players in the city, giving his all inside the paint despite not being anywhere near the biggest frontcourt player in the game. He is listed at 6-5, but it doesn't seem like it. He hustles all over the court and is around the ball all the time. He finished with 13 points. Lynch, a 6-0 guard, also made some big plays in the second half. Once when his team was struggling, Lynch scored on consecutive lay-ups where he took the ball coast to coast. He finished one lay-up with the left hand, and the second with the right.
On the Xaverian side, 6-4 forward Rob Rossiter was a monster on the floor. He was extremely active inside, playing with a lot of heart and strength. He was given the sportsmanship award and was the heart of the Xaverian team. He scored a game high 21 points. Lambert, a 6-2 guard, scored 12 points and was the only other Xaverian player in double figures.
Jefferson won this tournament with impressive victories over Loughlin and Xaverian. Could this be a preview to what may happen this coming basketball season? After being a runner-up last season, will this be the year that Jefferson gets the prize. Only time will tell.